Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out

Feb 16, 2005 at 12:00 am

Though Bjork’s Medulla was an admirable undertaking, it was pretty tough sledding to get through. But somebody singing an a capella rendering of The Who Sell Out, right down to the Radio London jingles — how can you miss? That odd album found the Who sporting Beach Boy harmonies nearly every song and was when Townshend began exploring fanciful jazz chordings for the first time. Quite simply, it’s one of the unsung melodic and conceptual masterpieces of the rock era, and the indescribable glee you experience hearing Haden vocally capture all of Townshend’s feedback assaults on “Armenia City in the Sky” repeats itself over and over as the album progresses. You defy her to capture Moon’s pummeling on “I Can See For Miles,” the beauty of “Our Love Was Is” and “Sunrise,” the suspense of “Rael,” and she magically pulls it off. The project, instigated by Mike Watt as a tribute to d. boon (it was one of their favorite albums), takes away nothing from your memory of its pop prowess by eliminating Moon the Loon and even adds a shade or two by making you actually pay attention to its less weightier tracks like “Heinz Baked Beans” and “Spotted Henry.” In a pop-art word — WOW!

Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].